Best Beaches of SW Florida: North Jetty Beach Park at Casey Key

Best Beaches of SW Florida: North Jetty Beach Park at Casey Key

North Jetty Beach Park is on Casey Key, an approximately 8-mile barrier island stretching from Venice to Sarasota. The beautiful sandy beach is lined with numerous lovingly maintained houses. Since there are only 2 public beach accesses – another one is Nokomis Beach, it is never crowded, even in high season.

North Jetty Beach Park

The Park is situated at the southern end of Casey Key, on the northern side of the Venice Coastal Waterway that separates Venice from the mainland. Fishermen particularly love to meet at the North Jetty with its rocks, as it is a great place for catches.

The beautiful park has many old pine trees, that offer shade to several picnic tables as well as barbecues and a playground. At the weekends, this park is very popular among families with children. The restrooms are well maintained and of course parking is free.

Beach Bar and Bait Shop

North Jetty Fish Camp & Beach Park Concession offers baits and a nice variety of delicious snacks and drinks. Don’t miss their live music events! Location, food, drinks and music are a perfect combination.
Please see info on their Facebook Page

Several boardwalks lead over the dunes to the beautiful beach.

Kayak Rentals

If you like to be active, you may visit Jetty Rentals and get a kayak or paddle board. They also offer guided tours, that are very popular. There is indeed a good chance to spot dolphins and manatees.
More info on their homepage


1000 S. Casey Key Road
Nokomis, FL 34275
Sarasota County website:



National Taco Day

You love tacos? Then October 4th is your day, because it’s National Taco Day!

History and origin

The history of tacos dates back to the arrival of Europeans in Mexico. The indigenous people in the Lakes region of the Valley of Mexico traditionally ate tacos, which they filled with small fish. Already in the days of the Spanish conquistadors there was the first taco festival: Hernán Cortés, the famous conquistador, arranged this for his captains in Coyoacan.

Why the Spaniards called this local food “taco” is not exactly known. The Spanish word actually means “cone” or “peg”.

Difference between taco and tortilla

Do you know the difference between a taco and a tortilla? The tortilla is a Mexican flatbread, which is served as a side dish, e.g. to Chili con Carne, but is also used as a basis for tacos.

A taco is a tortilla stuffed with different ingredients. Popular fillings are ground beef, salad, onions, tomatoes and cheese. You can choose between corn and wheat tortillas. The original corn tortillas are crispy fried, while the wheat tortillas are soft.

What is your favorite?


If you want to celebrate National Taco Day, here are two delicious recipe suggestions:

Taco Pizza 

Veggie Tacos 


Many restaurants in the US offer deals on National Taco Day offers. Here you find a selection.

How about visiting our South Venice Taco Bell? It is only minutes from our Villa Happy Gator. Get directions here.

National Taco Day



Happy World Chocolate Day!

Wordl Chocolate Day

Today, July 7, is “World Chocolate Day”!

We love chocolate in all sorts and variations: as a bar, in ice cream, as spread and cake icing, in cereal or even as a face mask – the ideas für using are endless.

Here are some sweet facts about our favorite treat:

The earliest known cocoa bean cultivation regions were Mexico and South America, where Inca, Aztec and Maya people mixed ground seeds with spices to a drink they called “Chocolatl”. The chocolate from the beans was considered a luxury commodity and was reserved for wealthy people.

Among the Aztecs, cocoa beans were even common as a means of payment. Taxes could be paid with them. For 100 perfect beans you could buy a slave!

In 1550, the first cocoa beans appeared in Europe, but it took until 1847 that the first chocolate bar was produced in England.

The worldwide most chocolate is cosumed in Germany and Switzerland: an impressive 10 kg per person per year. That’s almost twice as much as in the US. By the way: Women are much more likely to be a chocolate lover than men.

Happy World Chocolate Day!

You are in Venice Florida these days? Be sure to stop by at Kilwin’s on W Venice Ave, their choices are simply delicious!

Wordl Chocolate Day  Wordl Chocolate Day

For Animal Friends: Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary in Punta Gorda Florida

Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary

You love animals? How about a trip to Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary in Punta Gorda?

Since 1970 this truly impressive private non-for-profit organization has been rescuing and rehabilitating exotic wildlife. The Sanctuary is not a zoo, but a nursing home/retirement village for abused and unwanted animals.

You will see bears, lions, tigers, birds and a lot more other species. Each animal has a name and its own story, sometimes really touching.

You may pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a whole day at Octagon. Especially kids will love it. They are wheelchair accessible and have beverages available for purchase.  There are multiple beautiful areas to sit, eat, relax, or cool off at the misting stations. Always check the weather before you come!

For more information, please go to their website

Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary
41660 Horseshoe Rd
Punta Gorda, FL 33982, USA

Where to eat in Venice: Café Venice for exquisite Menus and Wine

Cafe Venice

Café Venice is a small, intimate bistro-style restaurant featuring an exquisite menu with American Cuisine with Homemade sauces, specialty side dishes, and delectable desserts paired with a fine wine selection. Whether you are looking for a casual spot to enjoy lunch and a glass of wine or an intimate location to celebrate your anniversary or special occasion, the staff at Café Venice will welcome you and ensure you have a great dining experience.

With their new outside terrace they offer outside dining as also a lighter menu whether you are enjoying an evening bike ride – or just want something light to munch on.

Come on over and enjoy a glass of wine, something on the lighter side and of course downtown Venice.

By the way: There is always a Happy Hour special, so make sure to check their website for the latest info.

Cafe Venice

Cafe Venice

The Best Hiking Trails around Venice: Jelks Preserve

Jelks Preserve Venice

This 614 acre preserve is bordering the wild and scenic Myakka River. While exploring the network of trails, you can see diverse natural communities including hammocks, pine flatwoods and seasonal wetlands and can observe gopher tortoises, swallowtail butterflies, songbirds and wildflowers.

Some trails meander through canopied hammocks, others are open and sunny. At three different locations there is a connection to the river. More than 8 miles of trails are provided and marked.

This beautiful nature preserve is only minutes away from our Villa Happy Gator on 2300 N River Road, Venice, FL 34292.


EGGSTRAVAGANZA Easter Egg Hunt in Venice – March 31 2018

Eggstravaganza Venice 2018

For Easter fun with the whole family, head to Eggstravaganza in downtown Venice on March 31. Beginning is at 9:30 a.m.

Centennial Park in historic Downtown Venice is the place to be for free Easter egg hunts divided by age group, along with entertainment and photo options with the Easter Bunny himself, who will make a guest appearance to entertain the children.

Be sure to bring your basket for gathering!

This free annual event is presented by the Venice Lion’s Club and Venice MainStreet.
Get directions here.


12th Annual Buchan Airport Fly-In on March 3, 2018

Buchanan Airport Florida

This is a great opportunity to meet flying friends and fun for the whole family. Enjoy breakfast under a tent with quiche and pastry. There will also be a variety of vendors.

View vintage, experimental, homebuilt and general aviation aircraft and watch the planes take off & land!

Event starts at 9:00 am and will take place until 12:00 pm. Admission is free!

For more info please visit

Buchan Airport is located on 1390 Olde Englewood Road in Englewood, FL 34223, only a few minutes away from Villa Happy Gator in Venice, your 5-star vacation home.


Book Your Vacation in Venice Florida – Enjoy “Garden of Wonders”

Venice Arts Festival

Venice Florida is the perfect location for a perfect holiday: Miles of pristine beaches, close to shopping and nature parks and cozy cafés, bars and restaurants.

How about planning a stay in November and visit the Venice Chalk Festival November 9-12 with its motto “Garden of Wonders”? From start to finish, you can witness the largest gathering of renowned pavement artists perform using the road surface as a canvas to develop oversized masterpieces in chalk. (

For your stay we recommend our Villa Happy Gator, a 5 star rated vacation home with gorgeous pool area and close to the beach, shopping and nature parks. Contact us and book your favorite time now! Still several openings in 2018.

Birgit, owner Villa Happy Gator in Venice Florida

Guided Shell Hunting In Nokomis – Jan 13 – 9 am

Shell Hunting in Venice

Enjoy a guided shelling tour of beautiful Casey Key beach. Drive 20 minutes north from our Villa Happy Gator in Venice and meet with people who know exactly how to spot the findest natural treasures – unique shells, shark teeth, driftwood, sea urchins, sand dollars and more. Get directions here.